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Category Archives: happiness

Creating Change In Your Life Isn’t Always About “Doing”

The other day I was working with a client who was very frustrated because she felt like she wasn’t making a lot of progress in her life.

“There’s all these things that I know I need to do for myself,” she said, “but I just can’t ever get myself to do it.”

What followed were more self-critical statements and an eventual pause with a look of being completely lost along with the question, “What should I do?”

I paused, took a breath, and sat for a moment trying to find the exact right words for this response.

“Why do you have to do anything?” I said.  She looked at me a little perplexed.

“We live in a society where we’re hardwired to always be ‘doing’ something,” I continued, “but when it comes to something like this I don’t think the healing comes from doing more.  Rather, it’s about being open.”

When we’re stuck in this place where we know we need some kind of growth and healing, we can have a tendency to focus on what we can “do” to “fix” it. 

But the reality is that there is no simple step-by-step to do list to help you “fix” your problem.  There is no “one size fits all” for everyone all the time.

We’re all unique, so we all have our own individual journey and life path.  We just need to be sure to remember this and keep this in mind in order to allow our own unique healing and soul growth to occur.

So what do I mean exactly when I say that we “need to be open”?  Well, being open means being open to…

Guidance. 

Guidance — from spirit, God, the universe, a higher power, or whatever term you want to use — that will lead us to the right people with the right method at the right time that will be able to help you with your own unique situation.

Our felt experience.

To be open to our own emotions and feelings.  When we are sad, upset, or are still holding on to emotional distress from past situation, we have a tendency to repress or dissociate from our experience.  It may be too difficult to feel, so we unconsciously seek alternatives to avoid feeling.  This can cause us to feel depressed, anxious, etc.

So in order to heal and grow its important to be open to slowly and gradually reconnect to our own feelings.  It’s important to allow ourselves to cry, be angry, or whatever.  Being open to our felt experience allows us to reconnect consciously with our own natural flow of emotions and feelings.

The un-doing of our old habits.

We may not be consciously aware of what old habits and ways of being in the world are no longer serving us, but by being open to the un-doing of our habits makes change possible. 

Ultimately, it’s about allowing yourself to be open to change — in whatever way that comes for you — and trusting that what emerges is meant to come up. 

It’s not about trying to control or manipulate the process in some way with your mind (as our ego tends to).  Instead, its about surrendering our desires to control and allowing the process to unfold naturally for us.

OpenToChange

Click to Tweet: Lasting change comes from surrendering our desires to control and allowing the process to unfold naturally. via @jenilyn8705

There are two tools that could really assist you in being open, which include…

Prayer

Prayer or setting an intention at the start of you day is a very simple way to help you live with an “open to change” mindset.  The prayer can be something really simple like, “Spirit, of the highest truth and compassion, I release all of my concerns about _______ to you.  I am open to your guidance and intervention.  Please guide me in this process.  Thank you.”

In any prayer or intention that you want to make, I encourage you to create the wording for yourself because then it will be much more impactful.

Meditation

In meditation, we minimize the power of our ego or fear-based mind and connect to our true selves, which is pure love. 

If you already have some meditations that you really enjoy, then I encourage you to do that.  If not, then I am currently giving away for free my “Healing Blocks to Love” meditation from my new album Ignite Love from Within: Meditations for Creating Relationships and a Life Filled with Love. 

In this meditation, I guide you to identify at least one fear-based thought that is blocking you from love (which, in relation to the topic we’ve been discussing here, could simply be a thought like “I need to control my healing process”).  Then, I guide you through a visualization to release it.  If you’re ready to start creating relationships and a life of love, then click here to grab you copy as my gift to you.

Take action now!

Get out a sheet of paper write out a prayer or intention to state at the start of your day to  help you live with an “open to change” mindset.  Then share it in the comments below!

Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work — and Here’s What I’m Doing Instead

I’ve always been a pretty goal oriented person.

When I was about 16, I remember writing bucket lists and a list of “Things I want to do before I’m 30”.

Even when the month or two before I was planning to move to South Korea to teach, I was writing lists to lay out my plans as to what I was going to do while there and once I got back.  I had it all planned out that I was going to teach for a year, come back home, start my Masters to go into some special education and then be working full time and married by about 28.

Clearly, that didn’t happen.

In fact, it’s not even close.

I’m not living back in Illinois, I don’t have a masters in special education, I’m not full time teaching, and I’m most certainly not married.

And you know what?  The idea that I could’ve actually planned where I’d want to be after living abroad is completely ludicrous! 

There is no way that I could’ve accurately planned my life out post-Korea.  In order for that to work, I would’ve had to experienced nothing that was even remotely life-changing during my time living and traveling overseas.

But yet, many of us still set goals in this same old fashioned way.  We make New Years Resolutions to plan everything that we want to do that year.  We make lists of things we want to do and achieve by a certain age.  We make bucket lists of things we want to do in our life time.

But how often do we actually follow through with our goals?  And, more importantly, how often do we feel fulfilled and happy when doing and achieving things on our lists?

More often than not, achieving our goal doesn’t really give that much satisfaction.  We earn our degree only to now be freaking out over finding a job.  We take a vacation out to the Grand Canyon only to now be planning our next trip.  We pay off our debt only to now be completely focused on saving to buy a new car.

We’re so busy focused on doing the next thing on our list, that we don’t give ourselves much time to really sit back and enjoy. 

So I’ve recently ditched my old way of goal setting and have started a totally new method that I’ve been finding to be so much more effective.  I’ve actually found myself feeling more in the flow, more joyful, and much less stressed and overwhelmed.

Here’s what I’m doing in a step-by-step guide so that you can start doing the same:

#1 – Make the one and only goal to feel happiness and joy.

Make things super simple for yourself: Make your main goal to feel happiness and joy in your life.  Everything else that you do can be byproduct of being happy or an influence to experiencing more happiness and joy. 

If something doesn’t quite produce happiness and, instead, creates a lot of stress or pressure then it’s time to reflect on it.  Ask yourself:  Is it possible that I can be happy and joyful when doing this?  If so, then focus on changing your mindset.  If not, then it’s time to look at your other options.

#2 – Try to focus on more short-term goals.

I think one of the biggest mistakes we can do when goal setting is trying to plan out 3, 5, and even 10 years in advance.  How can we even know what place we will be in by that time?  A lot of things can happen between now and then. 

Plus, focusing that far in advance only takes us more out of the present moment.  It puts us in the mindset that “eventually, someday, I’ll be happy” when, truly, we can all experience happiness right here, right now.  In fact, its the only time we can find happiness is in the present moment. 

HappinessPresentMoment

Click to Tweet: Happiness can’t be found in the past or the future.  It can only be experienced in the present moment. via @jenilyn8705

So if you’re going to set a goal to do something, focus on things that you’d like to do in the next few weeks, months, and up to maybe a couple years (and for planning years in advance I mean: When making a big purchase and needing think about where you’ll be then).  Anything more than that is just going to be a waste because, more than likely, it’s going to be changed over and over and over again.  Save yourself the time and energy and just focus on what you can do now.

#3 – When setting a goal, ask yourself: Does this feel like I’ll find happiness and joy out of this or am I “pushing it”?

Simply: Don’t set a goal because you think you “should”.  Be honest with yourself.  Be true to you! 

I can assure you that you’ll have a hard time really experiencing happiness if you’re constantly worried about keeping other people and society happy.  So do what you love and what lights you up.  Life’s just simply too short to be focused on trying to live someone else’s life.

Take action now!

For this week, go out into the world with your main goal to be happy and joyful.  Carry joy with you wherever you go.  If you find yourself in a situation where it’s challenging, ask yourself: What good things am I gaining from this experience?  What am I grateful for?  How can I bring happiness and joy into this maybe not-so-great environment? 

Then report back here and let me know your experiences! 🙂

3 Essential Mindset Shifts to Living a Life You Love

Lately I’ve been on a kick in learning all about manifestation and happiness.  Reading books, listening to lectures, hearing about various meditations to try, and so on.

The motivation to really learn about all this has been coming from this deep inner frustration about one thing in my life.  So many other areas of my life I’ve been able to shift and make better, but in one area, for some reason, I’ve continued to feel stuck in this cycle that I’ve been unable to bust out of.

So, I figured, learning more about manifestation and achieving happiness in life would be beneficial.  In this process, I’ve come to several profound lessons where I have been able to feel some drastic shifts very quick.  So here are 3 essential mindset shifts that I think can really help us all live a life we love:

#1 – Realize that it’s not (and never has been) about where you are, but how you view it.

That shitty apartment your living in?  That toxic work environment?  That friend or family member that’s driving you crazy?  Sure, it makes things more challenging…

… but it shouldn’t be preventing you from experiencing happiness.

This was one of my first realizations upon moving to Korea and it’s taken quite a while for it to fully sink in:

It’s not about where you are in life, but about what you’re doing with what you have right now.

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Click to Tweet: It’s not about where you are in life, but about what you’re doing with what you have right now. via @jenilyn8705

If you’re pessimistic and bitter, then of course you’re going to be unhappy.  And sure, you can go ahead and start dating someone else or move out of the country, but nothing is going to change unless you do.  You’ll continue to carry those inner negative feelings everywhere you go until you decide, “Hey, I don’t want to feel that way anymore!”  So change your perspective.

#2 – Gratitude connects you to your soul. 

Always focusing on what we don’t have in life is very draining and keeps our minds locked into this state of fear and lack.  No miracles can emerge out of this if because it makes us blind from seeing the real opportunities that we have available.  It causes us to be trying to swim against the tide rather than to float along with it and trust.

So take some time each day in meditation to stop and connect to what you are grateful for.  Identify one thing — and it doesn’t have to be complicated.  This may be a person in your life, the fact that you have steady income, a pet, or the place you are living.  It could even be something super simple like the fact that the sun came up today or that there are birds chirping outside your window.

In meditation, visualize that person, place or thing that you are grateful for in your mind’s eye and then allow yourself to really feel the gratitude.  The shifts really happen from feeling, because it takes us out of our mind and into our hearts.  So be sure to really tune into that feeling and, overtime, you’ll begin to notice some definite shifts in your life.

#3 – Feel the way you want to feel right now rather than wait for something in your life to change.

A story I came across fairly recently was of a woman who had had a baby and was living on government assistance because her and her husband could barely afford basic cost of living.  Her husband ended up taking a job working at a place like UPS several states away because they were desperate for any money at all.

In her story she said that, while this situation didn’t appear so great on the outside on the inside she felt really truly happy.  She was enjoying life and really truly grateful for where she was at.  As a result, within just a few months she started a new work endeavor and ended up earning enough money in her new work that her husband was able to quit his job and move back with family.

The main lesson?  To start feeling what you want to feel “someday in the future” right now.

When I first heard this story my mind initially went to a fear-based thought of, “But if I feel all that joy and happiness right now, then maybe I won’t really do any actions to make changes in my life.  I’ll just be happy and stagnant”.

Clearly, this thought is really just a bunch of bullshit.

Because the second I decided to start feeling the way I’d like to feel “someday” I found myself feeling strong and confident in making decisions.  I started to feel more in-tune with my own intuition so I more clearly knew which direction I needed to take for myself.

So be grateful and choose to feel those feelings of happiness, joy, love, or whatever it is that you’d like to feel “someday” today, then simply be open for miracles.

Take action now!

Close your eyes and ask yourself: How would I like to feel “someday”?  Connect with that feeling in this present moment, then describe that feeling in the comments below!

10 Super Simple Self-Care Practices to Help You Live a Joyful Life

You wake up early in the morning to sit in traffic for an hour, work for about 8 hours, sit in traffic again for another hour or more to get home, cook dinner and then have just enough time to watch a TV show or two before you find yourself in bed and ready to do it all over again for another four days.

When we’re so much on the go-go-go, the last thing on our minds can be our own self-care and how we can find joy in our day to day lives. But, trust me, it’s much easier than you think. Here are 10 super simple self-care practices to help you live a joyful life:

#1 – Breathe!

So many of us get so stressed out over deadlines, places we have to be, and things that we have to do that we forget about how important it is to just breathe. When we’re stressed out, often our natural tendency is to hold our breaths or to breathe in through our chest.

So whenever you’re feeling strung out, turn your attention to the breath. Exhale. Breathe in through your diaphragm and breath out for a few counts. By consciously making deep breaths for a few minutes each day, you’ll be able to think with a more clear mind, be more resilient to stress, and feel much lighter overall.

#2 – Sing.

Who doesn’t like to jam out to one of their favorite songs? When you’re driving home from work, turn on one of your favorite songs and just start singing. And so what if people in the other cars around you see you! Clearly, they haven’t learned how to enjoy life nearly as much as you.

#3 – Dance.

You know the next best thing to singing your favorite tunes? Dancing to them! So when you get home, spend some time gettin’ your groove on. It’s not only good for a little exercise and to reduce stress, but it’s just flat out fun.

#4 – Meditate.

Have you ever had one of those days where your mind just can’t seem to “turn off”? It’s like the thoughts of your day just keep going on repeat in your mind and you just can’t get it to stop.

This is where the benefits of meditation comes in.

So every day spend a good 3-5 minutes just sitting and focusing only on your breath. If you want, you can also add in a mantra that you can say to yourself over and over again. A very basic one to do could be “so hum”.

If focusing on the breath or doing a mantra isn’t your cup of tea, you could also do a guided meditation or visualization as well. There are plenty of free ones online to try out. In fact, in case you haven’t already, you can get a free copy of my guided meditation for self and relationship healing. This is a great guided meditation to use to help send some love and healing for yourself and then send some love and healing to others in your life as well.

#5 – Eat natural foods.

When we’re running around busy all the time, the last thing our mind and body really needs is a Big Mac. We need to be mindful over what we are putting into our bodies so that we can be better able to tackle life’s challenges.

So try to eat more natural foods. Spend more time buying foods out of the produce section. Be sure to eat a good amount of fruits and vegetables every day. Drink more water and a little less coffee. Try to cut down on sweets and fatty foods. In making these little changes, you’ll have much more energy.

#6 – Be grateful.

Start keeping a gratitude list and every day identify at least one thing that you are grateful for. Once you have identified what it is that you are grateful for, then close your eyes and breathe. Visualize that person, place, or thing that you are grateful for. Visualize yourself sending that person, place or thing your love and appreciation.

#7 – Give someone a hug… or kiss.

When we give someone a hug (or a kiss) we get an instant boost of oxytocin in our brains, which is the brain chemical that creates feelings of pleasure, bonding, and intimacy. So give out some more hugs and it’ll make you and the other person feel better.

#8 – Play… literally.

When we’re so cooped up in our daily responsibilities of being an adult, we forget what it was like to be a kid and just play. Spend some time coloring or playing a game with a friend or with your partner. Dance in the rain. Play in the pool. And let go of the inner critical thoughts like, “I’m too old for this” and just do it. Just enjoy it and have fun!

JustPlay

Click to Tweet: Give yourself time every day to just play. You’ll reduce stress & bring a little more fun and joy into your life! via @jenilyn8705

#9 – Spend time outside.

For the majority of us that have desk jobs and sit in front of a computer every day, we don’t end up getting nearly as much time in the sun as we should be. So take some walks outside, spend time time regularly taking care of a garden, or simply just sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and sun. You’ll feel much better!

#10 – Create something.

In comparison to past generations, we don’t really have that many hobbies. In previous generations, more of us took up things like knitting, cooking, drawing, playing music, dancing, painting, and so on. Today it seems that most of us have exchanged this for working more hours and spending more time mindlessly checking our cell phones and watching cable.

And, frankly, there’s not a lot of joy that can come out of that.

So find a little hobby and start doing it. Start writing. Start knitting. Start learning piano. And no, you don’t have to be perfect and no, you don’t have to work towards “going pro”. Just do it. Not for money. Not for anyone else. Just for you.

Take action now!

Out of this list, which of these are you going to do for yourself today? Share it in the comments below!

Choosing Happiness Doesn’t Mean You Should Settle

This past week I posted on my Instagram and Facebook the quote, “Happiness is a Choice”.

While I obviously agree with the idea that happiness is a choice, the post got me thinking about it a bit deeper and thinking about how others may interpret its meaning.

Yes, happiness is something we choose to do. We can get a new job, live in a new location, get new friends, and find a new partner but if we continue to stay in this state of mind of pessimism or negativity with beliefs like “I’m the victim” or “I’m not worthy” then, clearly, we’re not going to be very happy.

If we don’t make a conscious choice to be happy then we’re going to keep ourselves locked up in this cycle of self-defeating thoughts. So even if something really good and amazing does come into our lives then, chances are, it’s not going to last very long cause we’ll either A. Mess it up our relationship with our super awesome new boyfriend or B. Never really appreciate them by realizing how good they truly are for us.

It’s our own inner shifts that really determine the level of satisfaction and happiness that we experience in our external world.

But — let me be clear — just because happiness is an internal choice that we have to make, it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to settle.

Just because happiness is a choice, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we all need to settle for our less-than fulfilling job. Just because happiness is a choice, it doesn’t mean that we need to settle with our romantic partner that we don’t quite fully “gel” with for whatever reason. Just because happiness is a choice, it doesn’t mean that we should never pursue our inner desire to travel the world.

Just because happiness is a choice, it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to settle for living a life that others expect us to live rather than how we, deep down in our core, truly want to live.

Yes, happiness is a choice but that doesn’t mean that we also need to repress our own inner truth in the process of doing so. Listen to that inner voice that is guiding and leading you to great things.

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Click to Tweet: Listen to that inner voice that is guiding and leading you to great things. via @jenilyn8705

Honor that inner guide fully and completely — but don’t expect that the action of breaking up with your boyfriend, quitting your job, or moving to another country is going to be the one thing that is going to completely transform your life. ‘Cause if you think it is, you’re going to be really disappointed.

… trust me. I know.

I did it 4 years ago when I decided that I was going to move half-way around the world to South Korea to teach English for a year. I was feeling very unfulfilled, out of place and as if I had lost myself somewhere along this path of becoming an adult.

I figured, well, maybe if I move out of the country and decide to just do “my own thing” that will be all I need to do to solve my problems.

“Ha!” the Universe said, “Oh silly, naive girl, you have so much more to learn…”

Oh boy was I wrong.

So very wrong.

The joke was on me.

I thought I was stressed, unfulfilled, and had relationship problems when I left the US, but within the first 4 months I started to experience even more stress, unfulfillment and relationship problems.

I found myself in the most challenging and emotionally damaging romantic relationship of my life.

It wasn’t until after that relationship ended that I gradually started to do the inner work. It was then that I really started to focus less on others and begin to really look at myself. It was then that I started to make self-care a priority.

It took me a while to fully realize that it’s the inner shifts that need to happen before I can really experience the outer shifts. But had I never gone. Had I never taken the leap of faith to hop on a plane an fly half way around the world by myself, would I have experienced the same inner shifts?

It’s very unlikely.

I never would’ve ran into the right people that would have guided me to the right books that would’ve never instilled in me the right ideas to cause such changes. And for that —regardless of how painful those relationships may have been — I am forever grateful.

After all, the lotus can’t bloom if there isn’t any mud.

Happiness is a choice that we have to make, but that doesn’t mean we need to settle. Trust the guidance of your intuition. Trust that sense you may feel to get out of that relationship, to move, or to quit that job. Of course, think ahead and plan effectively and rationally, but listen to it and trust it. Trust it even if everyone in your life doubts you or thinks it’s a bad idea because it is your choice and your inner truth — not theirs.

If we follow our inner guidance in faith and act with a willingness to learn, grow and experience change, a transformation will occur. The journey is hardly easy, but, at the end of the day, it’ll be nothing short of miraculous.

Reflections from My Weekend in NYC with Gabrielle Bernstein

Last weekend I went to New York City for the very first time to attend Gabrielle Bernstein’s second Spirit Junkie Masterclass Level 1.

I heard of Gabby’s masterclass when she first started it last year, but I told myself “Eh not this year” because I had already done Marie Forleo’s B-School that year and I just didn’t have the money to go.

When this new year started, I hadn’t even thought of it until I went to one of Gabby’s talks this past February in San Francisco. It was during that talk that she casually mentioned her masterclass in response to someone’s question. When I heard it, I felt a strong pull to sign up this year. Something in my heart, some little voice kept coming up and saying “go”.

I didn’t know how I’d get there at the time, but I knew I had to go so I just trusted and figured “if it’s meant to happen, some things will fall into place so that it can happen”.

Lesson #1: When you’re truly following your inner guidance and in-line with where you are truly meant to be, then things will fall into place naturally.

We don’t have to push it or try to force it to happen. It flows easily and effortlessly.

So there are a few things that happened…

For starters, around the time of that talk I was hired for as a counselor at a job where I could get hours as part of earning my masters degree in counseling psychology. And — unlike most people who are trying to get their hours in prior to graduation — I managed to get hired for a paid position. So more income? Check!

The next month I started doing the work to file my taxes. After adding in all of my income, deductions, etc. etc. etc. it turned out that I somehow managed to get a pretty darn good tax refund (probably the best I’ve had in my life… ever). So a decent sized check with more money that didn’t involve me doing any extra work? Check!

Then, to top it all off, in those next few months I had an increase in the amount of coaching clients. Woo hoo! Check!

So, because I managed to somehow get this extra amount of money that I wasn’t necessarily planning on I then flew from coast to coast to New York City (for the very first time) to attend Gabby’s Spirit Junkie Masterclass.

Overall, the class was nothing short of, simply, remarkable and there are not very many words that I can use to fully describe it. In fact, everyone that has asked me so far how the masterclass was, I have such a hard time trying to explain it. Words really just don’t do it any justice… honestly.

Anyway — at the masterclass, I was able to meet many different people (mostly women, with a few guys) from all around the world.

After the Saturday I was so excited about being in NYC that I decided I was going to go all about the city and explore and see as much as I possibly could.

After Sunday (our last day), on the other hand, I actually found myself overcome by this feeling of sadness. Though I visited with several ladies at the class and even afterwards at the hotel, I was overcome by this feeling of being alone and supported.

Lesson #2: Just because you think you may have healed something fully because the issue no longer exists in our current life, it doesn’t mean that it is completely 100% healed.

The wound may still be lingering deep within our psyche, where it may be unconscious to us most of the time.

I didn’t realize it as it was happening but in hindsight I realized that these emotions were perfectly correlated to a few dreams I had in the past few months. In the last few months I had some dreams come up where I was younger and back in school and feeling very left out and unsupported by classmates.

I wasn’t sure why this was coming up or what it meant at the time, but my sudden feeling of sadness and feeling unsupported after the class made me realize that these emotions came from that unconscious part of myself. It seemed that these wounds, that were buried deep into the unconscious of my psyche and only came up in my dreams occasionally, had now completely surfaced in my conscious mind.

And boy did they hit hard.

So what did I do? Well, I did the best thing and, really, only thing I could do…

I felt them. Fully and completely.

Lesson #3: In order to heal it, you have to really let yourself feel it.

As Gabby’s coach, Rha Goddess who gave a keynote at the masterclass says, “Feeling a feeling for 90 second can transform it”. So I let myself really feel it. After all, I didn’t cry during the masterclass at all, which was a little odd cause it seemed that everybody cried at some point or another. So I gave myself the time and space at this time to really feel it.

After I gave myself to really feel and process those feelings alone in my hotel room, it seemed that something cracked open. I started writing in this new notebook that I brought. In the process of writing, it appeared that something completely new was coming out on the page.

What emerged on the page was new, unique, and… the true message of all my work at its very core. My inner guide that I was not fully connected with completely emerged on that page. And it gave me all I needed to know about where to focus in my teaching, coaching, and writing.

I felt energized, aligned and oh-so-excited to start sharing this message with others.

Which leads me to my last and final lesson…

Lesson #4: When you are able to recognize your fear as only fear and you let yourself really feel that fear, your true self begins to shine.

TrueSelfShine

Click to Tweet: When you are able to recognize your fear as only fear & you let yourself feel that fear, your true self begins to shine. via @jenilyn8705

Let yourself really feel it, my friends — and I mean really feel it. Recognize the fear, feel it, and then allow your true self to emerge… it’s waiting.

Much love,

Jennifer

5 Ways to Have a Radiant Valentine’s Day When Single

For the single person, Valentine’s Day can be a much-dreaded holiday.  Rather than to be reminded of love when we see all of the hearts and flowers, we may find ourselves succumbed to memories of heartbreak and loss.

We can find ourselves dreading the holiday year after year because it is merely a reminder of the one thing that we wish we did have but we don’t have.

But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be a day of painful reminders.  Whether you are single, married, engaged, or have just gone through a breakup or divorce it is possible to have a love-filled Valentine’s Day filled with joy and happiness.  Here are 5 ways:

#1 – Be grateful for where you are.

Did you break-off your engagement because you realized he wasn’t “the one”?  Did your last boyfriend breakup with you, but you’ve since realized it’s for the best because he wasn’t going to support you in all your endeavors anyway?  Have you been able to live abroad or travel because you have been single?

Be grateful that you are now free of these things that were weighing you down and the opportunities you have had because of your single-ness.  You’re free, so be thankful for it!

#2 – Celebrate your single-ness!

Though every breakup is emotionally painful, the truth is that the person we are truly meant to be with is so much better for us then our ex.  There’s something so much better on it’s way — and that is worth celebrating for!

So go out with some friends for dinner.  Go dancing.  Do some karaoke.  If you’re not in the mood to go out, then plan on having a movie night at home or do something crafty.  Find some way to celebrate because there are so many reasons to!

#3 – Shower yourself with loving gifts.

Buy yourself some flowers and chocolates.  Buy yourself that stuffed bear with a heart that you wish someone would buy for you.  Get yourself a Valentine’s Day card and write a loving note to yourself in it pointing out all the things you love about yourself.  After all, the most important relationship we can ever have is the one that we have with ourselves, so be sure to give yourself some love!

#4 – Create some love in your life.

Though many of us tend to see love as something that we must “seek” or “find” out in the world, the reality is that we ourselves have the power to create the love that we desire for ourselves.  Love is all around us, so it isn’t necessarily something that we must “find”, rather, it is something that we must chose to open ourselves to.

LoveFindOpenSelfTo

Click to Tweet: Love is not something we need to “find” – it’s something we must choose to open ourselves to. via @jenilyn8705

So how can we open ourselves to love?  Savor the present moment.  Stop and look at what is around you right here in this very moment.  Open yourself to seeing the love in the trees, birds, and sky.  Open yourself to seeing the love in each sunset.  Open yourself to feeling and experiencing the love that exists in life itself.

#5 – Give some love too!

One of the best ways to experience more joy and love in your life is to give back to others.  Do you know of a friend who is currently going through a rough patch?  Be sure to send them a Valentine’s Day card with a flower.  See a homeless person on the street?  Give them some cash or food.  When we do loving actions towards others, it helps bring more love in our own hearts.

What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day to celebrate?  Share your plans with me in the comments below!

Finding Blessings When Everything Comes Crashing Down

About mid-way through the year last year, I felt like my life was suddenly crashing down.

It started off with being notified that I needed to find a new place to live after I had just moved 3 months prior.  This followed with bad news about a chronic health issue that I had been dealing with.  In addition, when it came around to be “that time of the month” my PMS was at the absolute worst that it had ever been in my entire life.  All I wanted to do was lay around curled up in a ball for an entire week.  This all then concluded with a notice that I had been let go by my part-time job.

Needless to say, I panicked.  I freaked out. I was overwhelmed with anger that all these things had to be happening to me all at once. I had a complete emotional and mental breakdown.

I felt like my body was breaking down.  I felt like my entire being was breaking down.  The only thing I could do — or even have the physical energy to do — was to cry.

… and that’s what I did.  I cried.  I cried a freaking lot.  And I did something else too — I stopped trying.

I stopped looking on craigslist for apartments and jobs.  I stopped debating on what actions to take.  I stopped pushing myself to do all these things in hopes to find a solution to all my problems.

Instead, I just did what I could.  I let go and decided to go with the flow.  I stopped trying and pushing myself and decided to surrender and take care of myself.

StopPushingLetGo

Click to Tweet: When your stressed cause everything is falling apart, stop pushing yourself to “figure it out” and just let go. via @jenilyn8705

It was then that I allowed myself to really relax and enjoy all of the incredible blessings that I had experienced around that same time, such as:

… having an astounding result to a TinyBuddha article of mine that I never would have expected!

… making new friends who are also life coaches or entrepreneurs.

… celebrating my amazing boyfriend’s birthday.

… moving forward in my relationship by both of us exchanging our first “I love yous” 🙂

… finding out that my parents were coming to visit me the next month.

… a childhood friend finally having her baby.

… having the time (and living in an area) where I had the opportunity attend group meetings for extra support.

… and so much more!

Often times when we find ourselves in a period of our lives where everything seems to have been uprooted and we have everything but security, we find ourselves all stressed out and caught up with feelings of anxiety and anger over what happened to us.  We find ourselves so caught up in these emotions that we completely overlook all the wonderful little blessings that are going on around us at the same exact time.  We can find ourselves so incredibly focused on all the “bad” that is happening that we cut ourselves off from seeing the “good”.

So what should we do during these moments of high-stress when it feels like everything in our lives is crashing down?

Breathe.

Often times when we are super stressed out, we completely forget about the most essential thing that keeps us alive and healthy: Breathe.  So stop and take a moment to take some deep breaths.  Take a very deep inhale and allow your exhale to be longer than your inhale.

This technique of breathing where we do a longer exhale than our inhale is a great technique to help calm down the body and help us relax.  I have personally used it on the nights where I’m having trouble sleeping to help me dose off peacefully and it has worked wonders.

Take time for yourself.

When we’re super stressed because all of our plans seem to not be working out, we tend to get so focused on fixing all of our problems and life challenges that we have forgotten the most essential aspect for our growth and progress: Our own personal well-being.

So give yourself a 1 or 2 hour break to simply do “nothing”.  For for a walk.  Take a warm bath.  Read a book simply for the joy of it.  Cry… cry a lot.  Eat and really savor a nutritious meal.  Watch reruns of your favorite TV comedy.  Focus on you and what you truly need for the health and well-being of your own mind, body, and spirit.

Reflect on your blessings.

Moments before you go to bed, get out a journal and make a list of all of the blessings in your life.  Is it a blessing that you have a certain amount of money in your checking account?  Is it a blessing that you have a friend or partner to support you during this difficult time?  Is it a blessing that you have made new friends recently?

Write down a list of all the blessings that come to you.  After you finish writing them down, go through each one and say out loud to yourself, “I am grateful for _______” in order to really acknowledge to yourself and to the universe that you are thankful for all these current blessings in your life.

Take action now!

What are some of the blessings in your life?  Share them in the comments below!

How to Create More Effective New Years Resolutions

With the new year just around the corner, many of us are setting our New Years Resolutions.  At the same time, there are many of us that may be reflecting on our past year’s resolutions.  I, for one, am one of those.

At the beginning of 2014, I wrote a list of 28 Things I Want to Do Before 28 (since my birthday is a few days after New Years).  This past year I did eat more greens, get shabu shabu in the US, go wine tasting in the Napa Valley, get a new macbook, get my life more organized, visit LA, create more guided meditations, and get published on the Huffington Post.

Although I did achieve these things, many of the things on this list didn’t happen.  As a result, I when looking through this list I found my inner critic creeping in and saying things like “Oh you’re such a failure”, which then caused me to shut down a bit.

But then I found myself roaming around my old room and I came across a New Years Resolutions list for 2004.  Back this list was a bit different. Yes, I still wrote down lists with goals I wanted to achieve like “Be on the Quill and Scroll Honor Society before graduation”, but these things were never a part of my New Years Resolutions.  Rather they were on my list of general “goals” with this attitude of “If I get there, great.  If not, then it was only just an idea after all.”

And so, for my official New Years Resolutions for 2004 I wrote down simpler things like “Be more optimistic” and “Take a lot more pictures”.

And you know the funny thing about this list of my 2004 New Years Resolutions?  I remember that when I looked at them by the end of the year I realized that I had achieved every single one!  My method of writing simple New Years Resolutions totally worked for me — and this has now lead me to writing my New Years Resolutions this year the same way as I did back then.

So here are some 3 tips to follow in creating more effective New Years Resolutions:

Ask yourself: “How would I like to grow and become better?”

So overall, how would you like to become better this coming year compared to this last year?  Would you like to be more optimistic?  Would you like to become better at forgiving and releasing bitter resentments?  Would you like to express yourself more in front of certain people?  Would you like to become better at processing your emotions rather than repressing them?  Would you like to become more emotionally aware?

Ask yourself: “What is something that I’d like to do that I haven’t been doing (or do more of)?”

So have you always wanted to learn how to paint but you have never done it?  Have you been thinking about starting to write a book but you’ve been putting it off for a long time?  Have you been exercising but you feel like it’d be a good idea to start doing it more?  Would you like to start running or doing yoga?  Would you like to start traveling more — or, at least, start making plans to travel more?

Keep the list short!

The problem with New Years Resolutions is that we may make list of 10, 20 or maybe even 30 things that we’d like to do.  This is so much more overwhelming and it makes it so much less likely that you’ll actually get around to achieving all of them.  Plus, when the list is short, it is so much easier to remember all of them throughout the year.  It’s easier to keep a running list in your mind of things you want to do throughout the year.

So keep your lists limited to about 8 resolutions max.  The less the better!

NewYearsResolutions

Click to Tweet: When it comes to writing New Years Resolutions, the shorter and simpler the list, the better it is! via @jenilyn8705

Based on my own guidelines, here’s my own New Years Resolutions for this upcoming year:

1.  Have a regular yoga practice.
2.  Write a book.
3.  Be nourished through food.
4.  Dedicate more time and energy to meditation and prayer.

Take action now!

Based on the tips that I had shared above, create a list of New Years Resolutions for this coming year.  Then in the comments below, list at least one of your New Years Resolutions.

Why We Struggle to Be Happy

I started therapy a little over a month ago.

I started going again for a few reasons:

1.  I was feeling kind of extra stressed over a few aspects in my life and I felt it’d be good to have a “sounding board”

2.  I found myself in a period where I’m wanting to look a little bit deeper at my own stuff.

3.  I’m required to have an X amount of therapy hours for my graduate program — PLUS this therapist that I found happens to be licensed, which means = I can earn hours towards my own MFT licensure.

Up until this past week, most of our sessions had been pretty “introductory” in nature.  You know, the classic story of “this is what my upbringing was like, this is my history, this is where I currently am in my life, etc. etc.” that can feel oh-so too often repeated if you’ve gone to therapy more than once or twice in your life.

Fortunately, this week happened to be the first session where some real therapy could actually start taking place.  And I was excited cause, frankly, I had felt like it was talking way too long to really get things going.

There was one problem though… I had nothing to talk about!  In the previous weeks I always came in stressed about something — something with work, something with school, something with roommates, something about my health, something about my relationship, and so on.  But this week everything was perfectly fine.  It was as if all problems either melted away or, there were problems, but I was generally apathetic or emotionally unaffected by it.

So what did I talk about?  Well, I did what do best at in therapy — I ramble.  I began talking about any random thing that had been going through in the past week.

As I rambled about whatever, my therapist would interject occasionally with a comment like, “So it looks like everything is going really great right now!” that was then followed up with comments like “That is so exciting!” and “That’s wonderful!”

You would think that with the way I was talking about everything I was excited, satisfied, and, well… happy.  But I wasn’t and, instead, whenever she made a comment like that I typically responded with something like, “Well yeah… except for this cough that I have.”

When the session was over and I was driving home I thought to myself, “Isn’t that funny?  She’s telling me how everything I’m saying looks wonderful and great and here I am trying to find things to be stressed about.”  It was something that I was completely unaware of!

And you know what?  We all do this!  Whenever life is actually “going right” we can find ourselves caught up in still trying to find and focus on the things that are “wrong”.

The reasons for this I see as kind of two-fold.

In one way, the reason that we find ourselves focusing on all the things that are “wrong” is because we are stuck in our habit of focusing on what is wrong.  If we are constantly focused on what isn’t good and what needs to change, then we train our brains to focus on the bad rather than to notice and enjoy what is good.

In another regard, we can also be struggling to truly accept what is good.  Our ego has us so caught-up in all of the problems and struggles that life presents to us that it is hard for us to truly see and enjoy the good.  It’s hard for us to really be positive because it’s almost like our ego has us “addicted” to the negative.

Regardless of the exact reasoning, it’s possible to get ourselves out of this focus on the negative and to really start being positive with just some conscious effort.  Here are some tips:

#1 Reflect every day by asking yourself the questions of…

How is everything in my life right now?  What is good?  What is “not-so-great”?  Am I really enjoying and being happy for the things that are good?

#2 Strive to find the good even in the “bad”.

Are you frustrated about your finances cause you’re barely making ends meet?  Then rather than get even more frustrated when a bill comes in, be joyful for it!  Are you frustrated that it’s snowing heavily outside so it takes even longer to drive home?  Be happy that you are in a place that has all 4 seasons!

#3 Be more positive!

Give the lady with a cute necklace standing in line behind you a compliment.  Smile at the people at the Post Office and ask them how there day is (despite the line being a bit too long).  Take the time to look at the sunrise or sunset and find the beauty in it.  Find the joy in the little things — and allow your inner joy to shine.

InnerJoy

Click to Tweet: Find the joy in the little things — and allow your inner joy to shine! via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

In the comments below, list at least 3 positive things that are happening in your life right now!